Whilst I was on board the Royal Princess we were lucky to be invited to take a Behind the scenes tour of the ship, which included a visit to the Bridge, backstage of the Theatre, and then down into the crew bar and dining room, into the laundry room and also into the galley. For me this was the highlight of my trip and the thing I was most looking forward to doing.
You can pay to do this tour whilst on board and costs $150 per person, our guide Toby Huggett who was the Cruise Director for our cruise was so informative and was a great guide. As I am such a cruise geek, to see what happens behind the scenes was so exciting I would have paid to have done this tour (and thinking if they offer a similar one whilst I am on Azura to book it)
The tour started in the Bridge, unfortunately the captain was on his break but one of his officers showed us around and explained how it all worked. Royal Princess no longer use the old fashioned maps and compass to plan the route and it is all done via the computer. Most people would expect to see a big steering wheel, however it is just a little joy stick that moves the ship. We were lucky to be allowed to sit in the Captains Chair wearing his hat and using his binoculars (we were all so excited for this)
We then went backstage in the theatre where we saw the dressing room, and the huge rail of clothes which spanned a couple of floors. Each performer know the numbers of their costumes and programmes into the clothes rail, they are also responsible for the up keep of their own costume so they have to do their own washing, sew on buttons and make repairs etc. On the wall we caught a glimpse of the bloopers list which is where if they have made a mistake they write it on the chart.
We were then taken to see the crew bar where that night they were having a tropical party, we then got to see the crew dining room and also the crew own gym. We got to see the laundry (which would have been my brother in laws highlight as he works in a hospital laundry) and sheets were going into one side of the machine wet and out the other side dry, pressed and folded.
Whilst on our tour, Toby taught us about the hierarchy of crew on board Princess and that there was 3 different tiers and then individual levels within them. so tier one is the Officers – this is the Bridge staff to then be any of the ships officers ie cruise directors, future cruise staff etc. The second tier was staff and the third tier was Crew ie bar and restaurant staff. Depending on your tier depended on your cabin – if you were crew you would have two to a cabin and share a bath between two cabins. If you were staff you had two to a cabin and your own bathroom, and if you were an officer would be two to a cabin and a larger cabin and own bathroom – unless you are senior officers then you got your own cabin and bathroom and bigger again in size. Each tier has a different colour door so officers were white doors. Also depending on your tier depends if you have a cabin steward and if you have to clean your own room and laundry.
We also got to see the officers mess, printers room, photography lab, recycling and rubbish areas, then on to the galley before coming out into the restaurant and the tour concluded. The tour itself took and hour and a half and the only thing we didn’t see was the stage in the theatre as they were showing a movie in there at the time.
Overall a fantastic tour and was definitely worth the money to do, so if you are struggling how to spend your on board credit or want to treat someone for a birthday/anniversary then this would be perfect.
Whilst you are reading this, I am cruising round the Baltic on Azura so will tell you all about that next time